Sweet impressions of D.C.’s Georgetown Cupcake inspired TFAS Alumna Natasa Milosevic (IIPES 10, CSF 11) to bring cupcake love to her native Serbia and start a small business that indulges her creative side too.
Milosevic’s love affair with cupcakes began during the first week of Capital Semester 2011. Milosevic and her roommate went to try the famed sweets at Georgetown Cupcake on M Street. The first cupcake she ever tried was carrot, but her favorite quickly changed to pumpkin spice as fall progressed.
“I went every week to try new flavors, the seasonal flavors at Thanksgiving and Christmas. That was the first time I had tried cupcakes because in Belgrade at the time we didn’t have anything like that,” Milosevic explained.
When she returned to Serbia, Milosevic started baking cupcakes for family events. Then she created a Facebook page to market the cupcakes, and her customer base expanded to parties and weddings. Hungry Cupcakes had developed into a small business.
Although Hungry Cupcakes has expanding demand, the business is just one type of work that keeps Milosevic busy during the week. She also studies in a graduate program on law and economics and has an internship working on European Union projects in Serbia.
“Through TFAS I learned I can do anything I want. Even if I study banking, insurance and finance I can also start a cupcake business because I have a creative side,” Milosevic said. “TFAS gave me the strength that I have to try all these things.”
Milosevic does not have any formal business training, but observed the Georgetown Cupcake business model, and did her own research about how to market her business using social media. What has she learned about running a business in the process?
“You need to be in 100 percent if you want to succeed. If people see you are engaged and kind they will order from you. People appreciate when I try to create exactly what they want for their family, boyfriend or girlfriend,” Milosevic said. “I’m always online answering questions, responding to orders.”
Traditional Serbian sweets have a lot of influence, such as cookies and baklava. At first people thought the cupcakes were muffins, but slowly, they have been gaining popularity for parties and weddings. Milosevic has adapted many recipes from the Georgetown Cupcake book for Serbia, and substitutes ingredients with what is available locally. Milosevic does all the designs by hand.
Currently Milosevic is the only employee of Hungry Cupcakes, but when her other work for her master’s program or internship keep her too busy, her sister assists.
“I’m very organized and I have to plan ahead for everything,” Milosevic said. “When I have exams, I study a lot. When I have more free time I bake a lot. I’m very organized.”
Much like her TFAS experiences in Greece and D.C., Hungry Cupcakes has been an unexpected phenomenon in Milosevic’s life.
“My cupcake business wouldn’t exist if I didn’t do TFAS in D.C. TFAS really changed my life. Those are four months I will never forget. I met so many people, I had so many great experiences,” Milosevic said. “Everyday I think about TFAS and remember something about that experience.”